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Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler’s clandestine ‘Lebensborn’ project, which strove for a ‘racially pure’ Germany.

Haya’s reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family’s experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled.

Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Dasa Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.

Reviews

'Trieste is more than just a novel, it's a document that should be compulsory reading in secondary schools ... Books like this are necessary whilst there's still a glimmer of hope that eloquently reminding us of the past may prevent its repetition' Bookbag.
Bookbag
'At its best, Trieste achieves a factographical poetry, superbly rendered by Ellen Elias-Bursac, implying that no one in Axis-occupied Europe stood more than two degrees from atrocity' TLS.
TLS
'It contains no consolation, no happy resolutions, no hope. It makes you groan with despair, and you feel yourself going mad as you read it. I seldom read any book that made me more achingly unhappy. It is a masterpiece' A.N. Wilson, Financial Times.
Financial Times
'Most impressive of all is the sheer force of the narrative and the language in which it is relayed' Independent.
Independent
'Trieste is a massive undertaking, both for the author and the reader. It swings from stomach-churning but compelling testimonials from former concentration camp workers to fluid fictional prose' Irish Independent on Sunday.
Independent on Sunday
Trieste is a work of European high culture. Drndic is writing neither to entertain (her novel is splendid and absorbing nevertheless) nor to instruct (its subject, the Holocaust, is too intractable to yield lessons). She is writing to witness, and to make the pain stick.
Craig Seligman, New York Times
Trieste is a monumental feat of the imagination. Impassioned and lucid, it is impossible to read it and not come away with a new understanding of the world. Daša Drndic has given us a masterpiece that is not only brilliant, but uncompromisingly humane. How lucky we are.
MAAZA MENGISTE, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the Booker Prize